The Samaikyandhra movement, which started with sporadic protests in different parts of the city and district soon after the announcement by the Congress Working Committee on July 30 on the division of the State, turned into a ‘mass movement’ and reached a high point with a total bandh on Tuesday.
Life in the city came to a standstill as a result of the bandh on Tuesday with almost all sections joining the agitation for keeping the State united. Doctors, lawyers, traders, NGOs, voluntary organisations, students, community based organisations and literally all groups participated in the strike. RTC buses were off the roads and shops downed their shutters voluntarily and the few that didn’t were forced to shut by Samaikyandhra groups. “It is for the first time in over two decades that I have seen such spontaneous response from people in the city,” was the observation of the people of the city.
Angry protests were witnessed on the streets of the city on July 30 even as TV channels telecast news of the decision to bifurcate the State. Andhra University students, under the aegis of Samaikyandhra Vidhyardhi JAC, launched an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Gandhi statue on Andhra University campus demanding reversal of the decision.
However, unlike in other places in Seemandhra, the agitation gained momentum gradually with more and more groups joining in with each passing day.
Rallies, human chains, burning of effigies of Sonia Gandhi and KCR and traffic disruptions by bathing and cooking on the streets to protest against the division of the State became a common feature during the past two weeks. The residences and offices of Ministers, MPs and MLAs in the city and district were picketed demanding their resignation.
The National Mazdoor Union (NMU) of RTC staged a protest against bifurcation and demanded the resignation of Ministers, MPs and MLAs from Seemandhra region. With pressure mounting from all sides, political parties decided to join the movement against bifurcation.
A bandh was observed on July 31. Most of the schools remained closed for three days in support of the cause for keeping the State united. Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao sent his resignation to the Chief Minister.
TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s remarks saying employees from coastal districts, working in Telangana region, would have no option but to go back to their respective districts, fuelled the agitation further. The remarks led to the intensifying of the agitation. On August 2, a ‘Non-Political JAC’ with the involvement of various organisations, unions and members of the public was formed to spearhead the agitation, which had developed into a ‘mass movement’.